Competitive Grant Program Protecting New Mexico’s Communities from Wildfire

With support from the USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry competitive grant program, the New Mexico State Forestry Division is achieving goals outlined in its Forest Action Plan.

The devastation experienced following a destructive wildfire can be felt long after the flames have died down and the fire crews have left the scene. New Mexico experienced this first hand in recent years following several large-scale damaging wildfires. For those affected by wildfire, there are many things to take into consideration before cleanup even begins. The ‘After Wildfire’ Guide developed by New Mexico State Forestry offers New Mexicans help navigating the often difficult process of rebuilding after a major wildfire. The guide has already become a model for other states.

In addition to local assistance, the guide and website have been reproduced by other states such as Oregon and Idaho and federal agencies such as the National Park Service. Sections of ‘After Wildfire’ help users take specific actions that implement National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy goals for resilient landscapes, fire-adapted communities, and wildfire response.

“This is the best website I have seen for post-fire recovery. It is an excellent resource that will help communities, home owners, and incident managers. I will recommend it to everyone that needs assistance after a wildfire,” said Richard Schwab, National Coordinator for Post-Fire Programs for the National Park Service.

The idea for this project grew out of a direct request from communities that experienced destructive wildfires, including the Las Conchas and Little Bear Fires. In the aftermath of those events, people from the affected areas had to figure out how to find their way through a confusing array of programs that might or might not apply to their situation. 

In 2014 the team received a $40,000 grant to enhance and build on the guide from the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Institute for Water Resources through the NM Silver Jackets, an interagency group focused on flood issues.

On-the-ground partners include the USDA Forest Service, United States Army Corps of Engineers, New Mexico State University, Natural Resources Conservation Service and New Mexico Association of Counties.

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